The Wild West: Superstition Mountain Museum and Apacheland

Dear Students,

This morning found us in Apache Junction near Lost Dutchman State Park. The Superstition Mountain Historical Society  is open 7 days a week, from 9AM. We pulled in at 9:15 and found the place uncrowded. The Superstition Mountain Museum is free for children 16 and under. Adults are $5.00, students (with ID) are $2.00.  With the cost of our overnight campsite, our weekend getaway was $16.00. $6.00 for the campsite and $10.00 for our morning touring the Apacheland movie set and the Historical Society grounds and museum. A full weekend for a bargain price.

Apache Land

photo by Raw Processor found on Flickr

I wish every historical society was set in such an exciting location. Normally my poor boys play with my phone while I browse (for too long) the books. Outside a horse was hitched to a post and the Muleskinners were assembling for their choreographed shoot-out.

The Superstition Historical Society has a busy calendar of classes, author visits and kid friendly activities, all reasonably priced or free.  I picked up some children’s items for my gift closet (good selection, less chance that the child already has it and I support a local business.) The boys had a blast sifting through the trolley of smooth gemstones and filling tiny velvet bags with citrine, carnelian, jasper and quartz.

Desert Wildlife taxidermy display in the museum, very well done

We took a walk through the museum. I loved the taxidermy exhibit. I read that arrowheads and clay shards were as common as seashells on a beach in this part of the country. The museum had several fine pieces, all found on local farms. Incredible. I picked up some arrowheads and a sheriff’s badge for the boys. I love for them to have a hands on sense of where they live. Arizona is very special.

This petroglyph rock was donated by a local farmer to the historical society. Tiny museums like this give an intimate view of a community. You can feel the connection to the land in this  small, uncrowded, lovingly assembled museum.

Because of Apache Junctions intersection with the Wild West, Indian Wars, Hollywood Movie stars and mining legends, this museum has tremendous depth. You can learn about cowboy westerns, soiled doves, gold mines, history or desert beauty. As a history buff, I love the story of Audie Murphy. Apacheland includes exhibits about Audie Murphy and Elvis Presley. The Elvis Presley chapel is a fun spot for a vow renewal…my wheels are turning. I was not able to stay as long as I liked. What a great resource for our area. I’ll be back for a solo visit when I can browse in peace.

I loved these guys. They were hilarious. The shoot out was LOUD! The outlaws were a riot. Here they are in their death throes. Can’t beat it.

I follow local historian Tom Kollenborn on Facebook. His love for the Superstition Mountains is contagious. He posts pictures, stories, hidden retreats and is a wealth of knowledge. Today I marked several items off my Valley bucket list. I wanted to visit the Historical Society and see if I could find one of his books. I also wanted to check out the Apacheland Movie Set and hopefully catch a gun show. The museum always has something going on and I was tired of missing it. Have you been to Apache Junction? What did you do during your visit?

Bang, bang, bang,

Mrs. Kenney